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cede that it is yet an undecided question sub judice; or, at least, that its opponents have some good reason for withholding their assent to its truth, and their consent to its requirements. Neither of which we are, at this time, prepared to admit.

It is true, indeed, that we christians are commanded by an allthority which we deem paramount to every other, to be prepared, at all times, to give a reason of the hope which we entertain; and not only so, but in meekness, and with firmness, to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. If, then, it be our duty, cither as teachers of the christian religion, or as private disciples, to be govern. ed by these precepts, not only we can find an excuse for ourselves, but we hope that you also will find an excuse for us in the present undertaking. E.ccuse, did I say? Not excuse only, but more than excuse, both authority and encouragement.

Some christians, we know, think it enough simply to inveigh against sceptics and scepticism in their weekly harangues; while they are protected by custom and law from the retorts and replies of such as do not believe. This is not enough. If, indeed, all the sceptics in the vicinities of christian congregations made it a point to attend these weekly discourses, and if their objections and doubts were fairly met, canvassed, and refuted, then this course might suffice. But neither of these is precisely the case. The sceptics do not generally attend the places of worship; and few of the teachers of religion pay adequate attention to this description of characier. In some christian countries, also, too much reliance is placed upon the strong arm of the law; and in this country, perhaps, too much confidence is reposed in the moral force of public opinion.

Scepticism and infidelity are certainly on the increase in this and other countrie Not, indeed, because of the mildness of our laws, but because of the lives of our professors, and a very general inattention to the evidences of our religion. The sectarian spirit, the rage of rivalry in the various denominations, together with many absurd tenets and opinions propagated, afford more relevant reasons for the prevalence of scepticism than most of our professors are alle to offer for their faith.

Kingcraft and priestcraft, always german-cousins at least, have so disfigured, or as they suppose, ornamented christianity, so coinpletely disguised it, that many having no taste nor inelination for examining the inspired books, have hastily and peremptorily decided that all religion is the offspring of fraud or fiction. The ignorance of the multitude, and the knavery of the few, are the most puissant auxiliaries of those daring and rash spirits who undertake to make it appear that the religious institutions of this country are founded on kingcraft or priestcraft.

I have sometimes been ready to conclude with Bishop Newton in his illustrations of the prophecies, that the unhallowed alliance letween kings and priests, of church and state, is destined to be finaily destroyed by a momentary triumph of infidelity: or, to come nearer to his own language, that leture the inillennial order of suciety car

be introduced, there will be a very general spread of infidelity. However this may be, for here we would not be dogmatical, we are assured that the progress of scepticism is neither owing to the weakness nor the paucity of the evidences of christianity; but to a profession of it unauthorized by, and incompatible with, the christian scriptures. These concessions we are compelled to make from a sense of justice to our cause; but in conceding so much, we give nothing away but what every christian would wish to see done away, viz, the abuses of the christian religion. Nor will we allow that there is oven in the abuses of christianity any argument against its excellency, nor any just reason for the infidelity of any one who has access to the oracles of God. When we agreed to meet Mr. Owen in public derate upon

the questions to be discussed on this occasion, it was not with any expectation that he was to be convinced of the errors of his system on the subject of religion; nor with any expectation that I was in the least to be shaken in my faith in the sacred writings. It is to be presumed that Mr. Owen feels himself beyond the reach of conviction; and I most sincerely must declare that I have every assurance of the truth and authority of the christian religion. I know, indeed, that there is no circumstance in which any person can be placed inore unfavorable to his conviction, than that which puts him in a public assembly upon the proof of his principles. The mind is then on the alert to find proofs for the system which has been already adopted, and is not disposed to such an investigation as might issue in conviction. Arguments and proofs are rather parried than weighed; and triumph rather than conviction is anxiously sought for. At the same time I own I am, on all subjects, open to conviction, and even desirous to receive larger measures of light; and more than once, even when in debate, I have been convicted of the truth and force of the argument of an opponent, Nor would I say that it is impossible that even my opponent might yet preach the faith which he has all his life labored to destroy. But the public, the wavering, doubting, and unsettled public, who are endangered to be carried off; as an apostle says, by the flood which the dragon has poured out of his mouth, are those for whose benefit this discussion has, on my part, been undertaken. They are not beyond the reach of conviction, correction, and reformation. For the present generation and the succeeding I have been made willing to undertake to show that there is no good reason for rejecting the testimony of the apostles and prophets; but all the reason which rational beings can demand for the sincere belief and cordial reception of the christian religion.

You must not think, my friends, that christianity has come down to our times without a struggle; nay, indeed, it took the nations at first by the irresistible force of its evidence. It was opposed by consolidated ranks of well disciplined foes. Learned, cunning, bold, and powerful were its enemies. But experience taught them it was not only foolish, but hurtful to kick against the goads.

Never was there such a moral phenomenon exhibited upon this earth as the first establishment and progress of christianity. The instruments by which it was established, the opposition with which it was met, and the success which attended its career, were all of the most extraordinary character. The era of christianity itself presents a very sublime spectacle: the whole world reposing in security under the protecting wings of the most august of all the Cesars; peace, universal peace, with her healthful arms encircling all the nations composing the great empire, which wils itself the consummation of all the empires of the ancient world. -Polytheism, with her myriads of temples and her myriads of myriads of priests, triumphantly seated in the affections of a superstitious people, and swaying a magic sceptre from the Tyber to the ends of the earth. Legislators, magistrates, philosophers, orators, and poets, all combined to plead her cause, and to protect her from insult and injury. Rivers of sacrificial blood crimsoned all the rites of *pagan worship; and clouds of incense arose from every city, town, and hamlet, in honor of the gods of Roman superstition. Just in this singular and unrivalled crisis, when the Jews' religion, though corrupted by tradition and distracted with faction, was venerated for its antiquity, and admired for its divinity; when idolatry was at its zenith in the Pagan world, the Star of Bethlehem appears. The marvellous scene opens in a stable. What a fearful odds! What a strange contrast! Idolatry on the throne, and the founder of a new religion and a new empire lying in a manger!

Unattended in his birth, and unseconded in his outset, he begins his career. Prodigies of extraordinary sublimity announce that the desire of all nations is born. But the love of empire and the jealousy of a rival stimulate the bloody Herod to unsheath his sword. Many innocents were slaughtered, but Heaven shielded the new born king of the world. For the present we pass over his wonderful history. After thirty years of obscurity we find him surrounded with what the wise, the wealthy, and the proud, would call a contemptible group; telling them that one of them, an uncouth and untutored fisherman too, had discovered a truth which would new-modify the whole world. In the midst of them he uttered the most incredible oracle ever heard. I about, says he, to found a new empire on the acknowledgment of a single truth, a truth too, which one of you has discovered, and all the powers and malice of worlds seen and unseen shall never prevail against it. This is our helmet, breast plate, and shield, in this controversy. What a scene presents itself here! A pusillanimous, wavering, ignorant, and timid, dozen of individuals, without a penny apiece, assured that to them it pleased the Ruler of the Universe to give the empire of the world: that to each of them would be given a throne from which would be promulged laws never to be repealed while sun and moon endure,

Such were the army of the faith. They begin their career. Under the jealous and invidious eyes of a haughty sanhedrim at home, and under the strict cognizance of a Roman emperor abroad, with a watch



lol procurater stationed over them. They commenced their operations, One while charged with idolatry; at another with treason. Reviled and persecuted until their chief is rewarded with a cross, and themselves with threats and imprisonment. A throne in a future world animated him, and a crown of glory after martyrdom stimulated them. On they march from conquest to conquest, till not only a "ultitude of the Jewish priests and people, but Cesar's household in imperial Rome became obedient to the faith. Such was the commencement.

The land of Judea is smitten with the sword of the Spirit. Jerusalem falls, and Samaria is taken. The coasts of Asia, maritime cities, islands, and provinces, vow allegiance to a crucified King. Mighty Rome is roused, and shaken, and affrighted. Sacrifices are unbought, altars moulder, and temples decay. Her pontiffs, her senate, and her emperor stand aghast. Persecution, the adjunct of a weak and wicked cause, unsheaths her sword and kindles her fires. 4 Nero and a Caligula prepare the faggots and illuminate Rome with burning christians. But the scheme soon defeats itself: for anon 'tis found that the blood and the ashes of martyrs are the seed of the church. So the battle is fought till every town of note from the Tyber to the Thames, from the Euphrates to the Ganges, bows to the cross. On the one side superstition and the sword, the mitred head and the sceptred arm combine: on the other, almighty truth alone pushes on the combat. Under these fearful odds the truth triumphs, and shall the advocates of such a cause fear the contest now!

Yes, my fellow citizens, not a king nor priest smiled faith, until it won the day. It offered no lure to the ambitious; no leward to the avaricious. It formed no alliance with the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, nor the pride of life. It disdained such auxiliaries. It aimed not so low. It called for self-denial, humility, patience, and courage, on the part of all its advocates; and promised spiritual joys as an earnest of eternal bliss. By the excellency of its doctrine, the purity of its morals, the rationality of its arguments, the demonstrations of the Holy Spirit, and the good example of its subjects, it triumphed on the ruins of Judaism and Idolatry. The christian volunteers found the yoke of Christ was easy and his burthen light. Peace of mind, a heaven-born equanimity, a good conscience, a pure heart, universal love, a triumphant joy, and a glorious hope of immortal bliss, were its reward in hand. An incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance in the presence of God, with the society of angels, principalities, and powers, of the loftiest intelligence and most comprehensive knowledge, brighter than the sur, in the glories of light and love eternal, are its reward in future.

But now let us ask, What boon, whai honor, what reward, have our opponents to offer for its renunciation? Yes, this is the question which the sequel must develope. To what would they convert us! What heaven have they to propose! What immortality to reveal! What sublime views of a creation and a creator! What authentic record of the past! What prophetic hope of the future! What account of our origin! What high ultimatum of our destiny! What

upon our

terrors have they to offer to stem the torrent of corruption! What balm and consolation to the sons and daughters of anguish! To these and a thousand kindred questions they must and they will answer, None; none at all. They promise to him that disbelieveth the Founder of the christian religion; to him that neglects and disdains the salvation of the gospel; to him who tramples under foot the blood of the New Institution, and insults the Spirit of favor; to him who traduces Moses, Daniel, and Job; to him who vilifies Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John; to him who devotes his soul to the lusts of the flesh; who disdains heaven; who deifies his appetites; who degrades himself to a mere animal, and eulogizes philosophy; to this man they promise eternal sleep, an everlasting death. This is the faith, the hope, and joy, for which they labor with so much zeal, and care, and pain.

Divesting man of all that renders life a blessing and death supportable, denuding him of all the dignity and honor which have ever been the admiration of the wise and good, and reducing him wholly to the earth, is by our opponents the true philosophy, the just science, the valuable knowledge. In their estimation a colony of bees co-operating in the building of store-houses and cells, and afterwards stowing them full of the necessaries of animal life, humming from flower to flower, while the sun shines; and in its absence, sucking the juices which they have collected, is the grand model of what man would be, and what he would do, were he under the benign influence of just knowledge and sound philosophy.

To accomplish this high and glorious end of our being is the supreme wish of my benevolent opponent. In the prosecution of which he labors to show us that matter-solid, liquid, gaseous matter is the height and depth, the length and breadth of all that deserves the name of just knowledge. As for souls, and their appurtenances, they are mere nonentities, creatures of mere fancy, having neither figure, extension, nor gravity; old wives' fables, and ought to be all embarked in company with ghosts and witches, and colonized on the point of a needle on some lofty peak in the regions of imagination.

When by a philosophic exorcism he has cast out these indescribable spirits which haunt the cells of our crania, and emptied our heads of all their intellectual contents, we are then to make the body, and especially the abdominal viscera, the all-engrossing topic of life and death, and the capital item in our last will and testament,

Now let us glance at the method of argument by which this point is to be proved.

1. Man is to be detached from any relation to a Supreme or superior being. All debts of gratitude or obligation of any sort to an unseen or intangible agent are to be cancelled by a single act of oblivi. on; and when he is taught to annihilate the Creator, he is next to be taught that he is himself neither Creator nor creature, but a sort of self-existent particle of a self-existent whole.

2. Lest he should be too uplifted in his own imagination, he is to be taught that he is no more than a two-legged animal, as circumscribed by sense as a mole or a lobster.

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